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Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake

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Reviews Views Date of last review
42 77055 Dec 21, 2016
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $181.05
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.65
9.44
9.0
pancake-1

Specifications:
A unique and indispensable addition to Canon’s series of EF lenses, the new EF 40mm f/2.8 STM offers an ultra-slim and lightweight design. Incredibly compact in size, the 40mm f/2.8 lens delivers high image quality from the center to the periphery, thanks to its advanced lens configuration including an aspherical element, a bright 2.8 aperture, and optimized coatings that minimize ghosting and flare, while providing exceptional color balance.

• STM - Continuous Autofocus for Shooting Video
• Bright f/2.8 Aperture
• Lightweight 4.6 oz Lens
• Unobtrusive--Less Than 1" Long
• Aspherical Element--High Image Quality
• Optimized Coatings Reduce Ghost & Flare
• Exceptional Color Balance
• 7-Blade Diaphragm for Beautiful Bokeh
• Close Focusing to 11.81"
• 64mm Equivalent If Used on APS-C Camera


 


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cdecoro
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Registered: Jun 9, 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 28
Review Date: Feb 7, 2013 Recommend? no | Price paid: $199.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Small, sharp
Cons:
Not a useful focal length / aperture combination.

I bought this lens within a week after it came out; I saw the review on the-digital-picture.com and I was instantly sold.

And then last week I resold it on eBay.

Simply put, there never was a time when I wished I had this lens on my camera instead of any other one. Or perhaps more accurately, anytime I had this lens on my camera, I regretted it.

Ultimately, this is not a useful focal length / aperture combination. I generally use either a 35mm or 50mm prime (with max aperture @ F2 and F1.4, respectively), depending on the situation. If I'm walking around outside on a trip, and want to get architecture shots, then the 35mm. If I'm inside a museum, shop, other building, then the 50mm. I thought that this lens would be a good jack-of-all trades between them -- but as the saying goes, it's the master of none.

First, it doesn't have the intimate perspective that a 50mm provides. Nor does it have the field of view that a 35mm provides. Yes, I realize that the difference seems small, but the difference is quite meaningful in practice.

But more significantly, I realized how much I missed the greater aperture control that the other lenses provided, not to mention the 2 stops of lights indoors (oh Canon, why can't you add in-body stabilization?). And so everytime I took this lens on my camera, I found myself wishing that I had one or the other primes. This one stayed in the bag.

You know, if I really wanted a 2.8 lens at 40mm, I would use a zoom. So this lens is smaller? So what? The body is huge enough. You are using this on a 5D series, at the smallest. When it comes to size, the lens is not the issue. And the 35mm/2 and 50mm/1.8 are only marginally larger. (Though admittedly, this lens is sharper and has a better AF system).

And, no, don't even think about using this on a crop. You'll get a camera system with the absurd field of view of a hypothetical 64mm lens (but with the not so-interesting perspective of the 40mm that it actually is). Such a combination is not useful -- seriously, don't waste your money on this lens if you have a crop, buy the Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC for a little more and be much happier.

And I've heard some people talk about putting this in your pocket. Don't count on it. Canon needs to design new caps -- with the front and rear caps on the lens, the length of the lens is nearly 50% larger, to say nothing if you have a filter on it. If Canon was really innovative, they would have put a protective iris in the lens (like on a point-and-shoot), so that the front cap wasn't necessary. But "innovative" and "Canon" are two words that sadly don't go together any more.

So anyways, after my virtual non-use of this lens for a couple months, I decided to sell it off to fund other purchases, and I don't miss it one bit.

Now, to be fair, I should point out the good parts. It is really quite sharp, compared to Canon's other non-L series primes (in fact, it doesn't do so badly compared to some of their L series). The build quality is really quite solid, and the AF is near silent and very responsive (esp. compared to the obnoxiously buzzing motors of Canon's other cheap primes). So if for some reason you really need a 40mm lens, and you know that you'll never need something faster than 2.8, than this lens is for you. And if you really need the smallest lens possible for your gigantic DSLR, this lens is for you. But would I recommend this to a friend? No way.


Feb 7, 2013
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sjordan93436
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Registered: May 10, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 195
Review Date: Feb 4, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $150.00

 
Pros: Small size, image quality
Cons:

It is more than a new lens, it changes the camera. It makes my 5d m2 feel like a point and shoot (that is an exaggeration). But like the prior reviewers, I can move around and look innocent. I even took my camera into a pool to get a portrait.

Feb 4, 2013
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greenmind
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Registered: Aug 30, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 47
Review Date: Jan 30, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Everything: excellent image quality, cheap, tiny, light, nice focal length on full frame
Cons:
Haven't used it on an ASP-C camera, but I bet it's a weird focal length there. STM isn't as great as ring USM

Great lens! The positive attributes are listed above. More details:

The image quality is surprisingly good - so much so that this has become my go-to lens. Not just when I want to travel small and light - I'm talking about all the time: it's on my camera more than any other lens since I've acquired it.

The camera as a whole becomes more portable with this lens. On more than one occasion, I have decided to bring my camera and this lens, in a situation where I usually would have left the DSLR home. This effect alone makes this lens worth it.

Anyone who complains about this lens has unreasonable expectations in the context of the price and size. You really can't expect anything more for $200 and given the size constraints Canon was shooting for. If you think a f/2.8 prime is pointless, or you don't want 40mm, or you don't want a tiny lens, then don't buy it - you probably won't like it.


Jan 30, 2013
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noncho
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Registered: Dec 23, 2012
Location: Bulgaria
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jan 20, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, small, build quality, price, STM
Cons:
Nothing for the price.

What a nice great little lens!

I was curious about it, but I didn't expect such image quality from this small lens. It's sharp and feels like there is no lens on the camera, this is nice for walking around. Focus is good, STM is nice even that I haven't using it for video.

I can't ask more for this price, like it more than 50 1.8 II.

What could be better - F2, but would be bigger and more expensive.


Jan 20, 2013
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dhphoto
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Registered: Feb 15, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 12290
Review Date: Jan 4, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Light, cheap, sharp, quiet focusing
Cons:
Not as small as I'd expected, slow focusing, only f2.8

The Canon 'pancake' is really more of a shrunken standard lens, it is't acually that slim, not that it matters, it's a very good sharp lens for the price with good contrast. The new focusing system isn't great on a full frame camera but it's accurate.

It's a very nice focal length on FF though, very versatile. I like the lens a lot.


Jan 4, 2013
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bransonq
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Registered: Dec 13, 2012
Location: China
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 13, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: thin, thin, thin. sharp. price.
Cons:
not f2, focus ring

I got this thing to go on my 7D after i bought airline tickets to accompany me in my bag. For the price i thought it would be great to carry if i was riding mopeds or in the back of a tuk tuk and was not keen on having a protruding lens.
My plane has not left yet, but i have begun to pack my camera more often throwing it in my day pack just because its size. It is like sawing the barrel off your shotgun. I do lots of street photography and people are much less afraid of it.
i really like this little guy... brought some fun back to the bulk of carrying a big DSLR and a bag of lenses.

mine came with a lens hood and and a case so good job canon!



Dec 13, 2012
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Gunzorro
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Registered: Aug 27, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 9046
Review Date: Sep 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Extremely good IQ from f/4 on. Extremely inexpensive. Extremely compact. Possibly the best IQ/price ratio of any lens.
Cons:
Manual focus ring -- focus by wire. No lens hood.

Quite a lot of light fall-off wide open, but gives great center sharpness wide open. Decent OOF areas wide open. Very good close focusing. Surprisingly, one of the sharpest lenses in my Canon collection, certainly the sharpest bargain lens I've ever used by any maker.

Sep 26, 2012
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hendrik-sg
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Registered: Jun 7, 2012
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 1
Review Date: Sep 24, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: sharp small price
Cons:
slow autofocus no IS

I bought this lens because my wife wishes a compact camera for walk around instead of our 5d.

With this lens, the FF camera fits into the consumer camcorder bag and is nice to be taken everywhere.

the lens is so small, that i have to take care not to drop the camera on the floor as i am used to support it with one hand below the lens :-)

optcally the lens is really fine and keeps what it promises


Sep 24, 2012
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Phil UKNet
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Registered: Oct 20, 2007
Location: Thailand
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 21, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $199.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Compact size, light weight, acceptable image quality, low price
Cons:
A little too long on a crop body and sits in the middle ground where it doesn't particularly excel at anything - it's something of a compromise lens

I bought this lens not because I particularly needed a prime 40mm lens, but because it was new, cheap and something of a novelty. It certainly makes carrying around a DSLR a lot more comfortable compared to most other lenses. If you just want to have a camera on you, without necessarily going out specifically to take photos, a DSLR plus several weighty, bulky lenses can start to weigh/get you down. The 40mm STM pancake's small size and light weight is most welcome.

The 40mm focal length is really too long on my 1.6x crop body and would be better on FF. This lens has been spoken about as being good for street photography because it is small, inconspicuous and doesn't draw attention. In practice I haven't found it great for street photography.

I prefer my EF-S 10-22 for great perspectives, composition and huge DOF. I prefer my EF 85mm f/1.8 for stunning colours, contrast and image quality. I prefer my EF 70-200 f/4L for getting in close when I am distant.

There is no doubt the EF 40mm STM pancake is compact, light and convenient but I have found it to be a compromise lens. It is more convenient to carry around than other lenses, but it can't do things as well or doesn't have the same 'pop' as other lenses.

It certainly has a place in anyone's camera bag and the low price makes it something of a no-brainer. There are certain situations where this will be my lens of choice, but it isn't the great all round lens I thought it might be.

The STM AF technology works fine. It's maybe not as fast as some other lenses but it is no slouch. I haven't experienced the AF problem that has been highlighted, which needs a firmware update.

Some more thoughts and a few sample images here:

http://phil.uk.net/photography/canon_40F28_STM_pancake.html


Sep 21, 2012
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fishyfinger
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Registered: Jul 3, 2011
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 26, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great fun to use, cheap, very well made, IQ.
Cons:
I lose it in my kit bag..

What a fun little thing!
Great fun to use, I have stuck it on my eos 3 film camera for now; lovely walkabout lens. Works great with a full-frame camera.
Also very nice on my 50D; the IQ is very, very good. Set it too 5.6 or there about, and snap away.
Easy.
Fun.
Cheap, for a Canon lens..
Sharp.
Good in low light.
Buy it.
Some shots to have a look at;

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fishyfinger/

Thanks for reading.

Tim.


Aug 26, 2012
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miataroy
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Registered: Nov 8, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 271
Review Date: Aug 22, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $199.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Size.. Performance Sharpness
Cons:
I purchased this lens knowing it's limitations.. I got way more than I payed for

I had this lens paired with my 5D MKII by Lifepixel and use it for Deep B&W IR It is awesome... it is small enough that it packs away for daily travels as though I am toting around the body with a body cap on it .. it is that light and small... the sharpness and contrast are a super match for the IR conversion...

Aug 22, 2012
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ChrisRD
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Registered: May 19, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 993
Review Date: Aug 14, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $197.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Small, light, inexpensive, decent build quality, excellent IQ
Cons:
Vignetting on FF, would have preferred F/2

When this lens was first announced I had no real interest...partly because of the F/2.8 aperture. After folks started posting samples praising the IQ I thought for the price I might give it a go just for fun.

After owning it for a while I'm stunned at the IQ considering the price/size/weight. It's super convenient to have in a pocket or camera bag side-pouch for the occasional wide shot when I'm out with just the 70-200/2.8 II IS on my 5D3. Overall an amazing value and a little gem of a lens!


Aug 14, 2012
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incdigital
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Registered: Aug 2, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 226
Review Date: Aug 9, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $199.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: $199 = bargain! - Smooth AF - Contrast/color/sharpness is in the very good range @ F/2.8 - @ F/3.5 on up sharpness/color/contrast is in the excellent range - Fits in almost any pocket - Can't wait for more pancake lenses by Canon - Cheap filter costs - Solid build quality - OVERALL SCORE is 9/10!!!
Cons:
Lens hood is a waste of money IMO.

I've taken over 3000 shots with this lens and have found zero problems with it. Buy it! You will not regret it:)

Aug 9, 2012
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EyeBrock
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Registered: Dec 3, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 1011
Review Date: Aug 1, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $229.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, small, light.
Cons:
F2 would have been nicer but 2.8 does the job in daylight.

My wife got me a gift certificate for $200 at my local camera store (god bless Duncan and Wright) and I decided to get the 40mm. I have the 35L and 50L so I didn’t really need the focal length but what interested me was the size and weight. I wanted to take out one lens , the 5D2 and my 270 EX out with me when I’m riding my bike. I’ve taken a couple of hundred shots with it now and I’m quite impressed! Colour wise it’s not as good as the 35 and bokeh wise it doesn’t match the 35 or 50L but it is a $229 (Canada) lens.

It’s well sharp at 2.8. It does vignette way more than my other primes at 2.8 but the look isn’t a bad thing, it does give the lens a certain character. The bokeh is more pleasing to me than maybe some on-line reviewers found but then bokeh quality is very subjective at the best. The build quality is very decent and it feels very well made. I was impressed enough to buy a good (B+W) CPL which was half the price of the lens...! All in all, this is a very good lens for an unbelievable price. It’s by far the cheapest lens I have ever owned and it’s well up there with my L lenses for IQ. Nicely done Canon!


Aug 1, 2012
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SPRS
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Registered: Jul 21, 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 21, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp. Price. Weight and size.
Cons:
Needs AF micro adjust.

I love this lens. It makes my 5D mark 2 into this light, take anywhere camera. The lens is extremely sharp, however the combination of my copy and my camera body required serious AF micro adjustment (-13). Before I did that AF was seriously out - the background would be in focus! My other lenses have not required major adjustments.

Color looks good.

While I find sometimes that the 40mm focal length is restrictive and makes me wish I had brought my other lenses, it's usually in circumstances that if I didn't have the 40mm, I would not have taken my camera bag due to the weight.


Jul 21, 2012
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lenticular11
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Registered: Jul 15, 2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 1366
Review Date: Jul 19, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: size, IQ for the price, AF
Cons:
some vignetting on FF

Bought this, as I have sold all other AF Canon lenses except for 135 and 200Ls (I'm a heavy alt user).

Was thinking of looking for a 2nd hand 50/2.5 macro, to have a standard AF lens for those occasions that demand it, but this 40/2.8 was cheaper and new!

I have not been disappointed! It is so small that it makes carrying a DLSR in a glider cockpit much nicer and was put to the test like that a few days back. IQ has been great on my 5D Mk III and I haven't found the AF to be slower than needed.

Great price-performance ratio, with a metal mount and a solid mounting action.


Jul 19, 2012
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Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
42 77055 Dec 21, 2016
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $181.05
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.65
9.44
9.0
pancake-1


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